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The Mail Bag

Who's in midfield for next season?

Comments (42)

The season isn't over yet and the major focus must stay on the last few games, however it's always fun to consider future options.

There have been a number of articles recently talking about the importance of certain individuals within the team, some of whom are relatively obvious — Howard, Lescott, Yobo, Arteta, Cahill, Pienaar, Yakubu.... Next seasons headache is going to be the midfield for sure — especially given that Pienaar has just signed and assuming Moyes takes the option on Fernandes with Gravesen and VDM leaving.

Does Moyes play a 4 or 5 man midfield? Given the current run of formations it could well be 5 in which case it would be:

RM - Arteta
LM - Pienaar
CM - Cahill
CM - Fernandes
DM - ? (currently Carsley)

Which is classy in my opinion with lots of options and creativity. What about Osman? Is Neville going to play at rightback?

How about when changing to a 4 man midfield - who is dropped? would it revert to:

RM - Arteta
LM - Pienaar
CM - Cahill
CM - Fernandes

And then there are the questions asked if/when Moyes signs another midfield player. Arshavin has been mentioned — who gets dropped to play him? The team desperately needs a new defensive midfielder — is Manny up to that position?
Tony Hawkins, Norwich     Posted 23/04/2008 at 19:36:59

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Rick Cole
1   Posted 24/04/2008 at 08:11:18

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I think manny can do the job, but it would be a lot differnt to having cars in there, we would have to play a more patient build up style with manny there pulling the strings, but we may also have a few more troubles on the counter without cars to brek them up early
Marc Williams
2   Posted 24/04/2008 at 08:24:49

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Tony I think you are assuming alot in thinking Moyes will take up the option on Manny, I just don’t see him being with us next season for a whole host of reasons but mainly fiancial.
I’m also not convinced that BK could find the money for the likes of Arshavin, Dudu or Kallstrom. I think these links are just the usual EFC ’ we do have ambition - honest ’ spinning that we get from this board. Maybe I’m just getting caught up in all this end of season negativity but you might be better off working out how the likes of Sean Davis or Stephen Hunt would fit into our midfield.

Paul Niklas
3   Posted 24/04/2008 at 08:53:44

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Manny, will never hold mid field he is not that type of player.

He would be better playing the role Alonso plays with Liverpool next to a Mascherano type.

With arteta and Pienar and Cahill and Osman as the options.

Rob Bentham
4   Posted 24/04/2008 at 08:49:47

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Given the stories about Carlsey’s departure to Derby, and the fact that no one really believes that Neville is a midfielder. We might be looking for more defensive midfielders than attacking. While the top teams are playing two defenisive midfielders, including the champions elect Manure with Carrick and Hargreaves, we’ve done it this season with Neville and Carsley, I can’t see Moyes playing it any other way. With ManU it allows their array of strikers to terrorize defenders with the two providing a platform for the attack. For us it only results in a whack upfield, rather than an attack at pace. Mostly it’s tactics we play slower ball, with passes often a yard behind the man rather than into feet or the space ahead. You have to gamble but you need players who control the ball under pressure. Personally I would keep Cars and Nev as a platform to build on and look for a more competent def midfielder on the ball. Who? if teams with more money want two and cover there’ll be money to spent where the fans traditionally don’t value the work being done.
Carl Wright
5   Posted 24/04/2008 at 09:40:40

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Dont count on Arteta being here next season. I'd be making provisions for him not to be...
Tony Pickering
6   Posted 24/04/2008 at 10:06:00

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I have not been impressed with Cars lately and think he will go to Derby. He has been great for us but probably needs to step down a level now and joining Stubbsy at Derby seems a logical step for him.
Sadly I think DM bought Neville mainly with midfield in mind and that he will take the Carsley role next year. I very much hope I am wrong.
I also agree with Marc on the propects (near enough zero) of having the money for Arshavin and Co.
I think we really must get a fast wideman from somehere. Arteta and Pienaar are both very good players, but a nippy wide man who can cross properly is IMHO an essential.
So, assuming PN takes the holding role, that leaves us with a new wide player, plus any two from Arteta, Osman and Pienaar, depending on form and fitness. With Tim fit again that makes a 5 man midfield which DM seems to prefer.
Rob Bentham
7   Posted 24/04/2008 at 10:22:20

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The telling stat on our season is that we are frugal in defence. That shows a good platform but we haven’t scored enough goals to kill some games off, or allow players an easier game, a breather. Hence we look knackered now, at the business end of the season. Both Spurs and Villa have scored a boatload, Spurs need a defence but Villa only need tweaking. To maintain a challenge for fifth next season means we need to strengthen our attacking options, to match the sixty odd goals the’ve both scored. That means pace. Quick wide men, defo. Also playing at pace. It’s no good speculating, not that that’ll stop us, Moyes never buys who we guess at. But we must add pacy midfielders who can control the ball. If we’d scored sixty odd I believe we’d be in 4th now. If we’d conceded one or two less as well we’d be pushing Chelsea for second. Look at the goal differences. I know football is played on the pitch, but our play is more akin to Chelsea than Liverpool and Arse, They have conceded 5 less than us and scored ten more. In short we need; one boss holding mid with great control, magestic passing skills, and vision, two lightening quick wide men, with pinpoint crossing abilities, and a right back who likes to have the football. Oh, and a referee to come on our pre season, he could even join in the Karaoke. That Andre Mariner’s available (Cilvil partnership with paul, allegedly).
JL Slap
8   Posted 24/04/2008 at 10:41:09

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I’d keep Carsley for another year providing he wants to stay on. He shouldnt play every game but like Stubbs did for his last season before heading to Derby just come in when needed.
We need another 2 quality midfielders in the summer preferrably with a mix of talent & physicality which would release Baines to play left back (according to DM in the echo)
With the new two midfielders we would have alongside Mikel, Tim, Peanuts, Osman, Carsley and possibly Gosling that would give us 7/8 midfielders for upcoming season which will see us right over the course of the year and enable us to change team or players dependant on form/injuries/suspensions.

I have left Neville’s name off as I’m praying & hoping he is never included in our midfield EVER again.

As for who the two signings should be I dont like playing the fantasy manager game, I’ve got my own ideas but I’ll keep them to myself rather than spark a championship manager type of thread.
Rob Bentham
9   Posted 24/04/2008 at 11:13:43

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Oh! go on.
JL Slap
10   Posted 24/04/2008 at 11:33:18

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You’ve twisted my arm.....for a perfect mix of talent & physical presence it has to be - Claus Thomson & Danny Williamson.

Next stop the premiership!
Graham Holliday
11   Posted 24/04/2008 at 11:42:37

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There was a piece on the OS a couple of days ago that seems to have been retracted since... it was about the reasons for Leighton Baines not playing a great deal recently.

Moyes said it was becuase he wanted extra ’stature’ in defence, hence Lescott being used predominantly as a left back - with Yobo and Jagielka at centre half. He implied next season he sees Baines as the team’s first choice left back, and that to accommodate this we will need extra ’stature’ in other parts of the pitch.

I guess this means he will be looking for at least one midfielder with a lot of physical presence.

I’m no fan of FM-style shopping lists, but my guess is his focus this summer will be (having already secured Pienaar) on securing the signings of Manny and/or a big central midfielder.

Does this mean the end for Carsley...? I reckon it might
Brian Lawlor
12   Posted 24/04/2008 at 11:49:15

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I hate to bring some negativity here but I?ll be amazed if Arteta is still with us next season.

He wants to move back to Spain. His girlfriend moved back at Xmas and since then he?s had lots of ?rehabilative trips to Spain? which is where he is currently again with a stomach injury.

If anyone saw his reaction to the crowd when he hit an over-hit pass against Derby, days after his agent had been spouting off (no smoke without fire) coupled with his indifferent form this year, would suspect that something is not quite right with him.

Everton is the longest spell he has had at a club but unfortunately I believe it is coming to end this Summer.

Arteta is undoubtably a class act and one we will miss greatly but it?s inevitable he?s on his way.
Steve Ryan
13   Posted 24/04/2008 at 11:56:43

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I believe that the midfield requires a total reconstruction; too lightweight, too inconsistent, lacking balance, leadership, strength, character and goals. If we are seriously hoping to challenge the top 4 teams then only Cahill would be an automatic choice in my team.
Joe McMahon
14   Posted 24/04/2008 at 12:17:04

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Can we please stop this and wait and see who is actually there and WHO is actually fit.

How many times recently has our first choice midfield been fit? Also when was the last time Arteta had a good game anyway? It’s a dream away but wouldn’t it be good to have Bently!
Billy Dean
15   Posted 24/04/2008 at 13:04:44

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Wouldn’t this be a tasty midfield 5:

DM: Manny
DM: Dudu/Cars/other new signing

RM: Arteta
LM: Pienaar
AM: Cahill/Arshavin

The Yak would be fed constantly!!!
Dan Barton
16   Posted 24/04/2008 at 12:58:35

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Bearing in mind we’ll probably have have about £10m to spend I reckon Sidwell to anchor the midfield (which he did to great effect with Reading) and a left winger e.g Pederson or Duff for another £5m would just about do the job.

Working on the basis we lose Graverson and AVDM, let Fernandes go and keep Carsley with Gosling graduating into the first team set up that would leave us a much better balenced midfield with plenty of options for either 4-4-2 or 4-5-1.

Gosling and a new left winger would provide pace and width with Arteta and Peanuts to cover in wide areas if needed. Carsley and Sidwell would provide strength and presence (Sidwell can actually pass and move as well!) and Arteta, Peanuts, Osman and Cahill can provide the gile, creativity and goal threat.

I reckon our defence is solid enough for the time being, and with the four stikers we have, if we can get the midfield sorted out with 8 players who can all play a bit and cover a few positions, we’ll have a much stronger squad to push on with next year.
Lewis Abbott
17   Posted 24/04/2008 at 13:30:53

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Yeah I've heard Arteta is unhappy and Moyes has already started looking for his replacement !!!

Lorik Cana would be good for defensive mid about £6mil?
Carl Wright
18   Posted 24/04/2008 at 13:43:05

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It wont be Arshavin and Arteta, it will be one or the other.

We hav £10m to spend plus sales from other players. Arteta will be used to finance players coming in.
Andy Lea
19   Posted 24/04/2008 at 14:13:40

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I would like some physical presence in the midfield who is preferably over 5ft 6. If Spurs have their anticipated clear out I would take a punt on Tom Huddlestone as a younger, better and taller player than Lee Carsley. His best games for Derby and then Spurs have come in midfield. Good passer, old head on young shoulders. Dreaming I would like Bentley and would spend huge to get him but think he is destined for the Sky 4. All the other players recently linked I havent seen so going with what I know.
Rob Bentham
20   Posted 24/04/2008 at 14:11:27

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Given Moyes penchant for Championship players making it good I wonder who from a league down could stand up and be counted. Anyone seen any quality there?
By the way I don’t mind all the FM stuff at the mo, takes your mind off the weekend. Gonna be an uptight couple of days.
There my minds back on Villa now.
Andy Lea
21   Posted 24/04/2008 at 14:20:24

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Forgot to include in my last post.

By my reckoning summer budget should be at least £16-17 million but ideally £20+.

Money not spent on Manny last season is £11-12 mill ? it's never been spent and we made £5-6 mill on McFadden so I would and more likely will be disappointed if Moyes is only given £10 mill.

If rumours are true then City are already looking to spend £20 mill on striker Jo. We can't afford not compete in the transfer market.
Brian Lawlor
22   Posted 24/04/2008 at 15:02:01

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To Michael Kenrick, Lyndon Lloyd or Colm,

Can you tell me why you?ve chosen not to publish my comments about Arteta?

I?m becoming increasingly frustrated with your censorship
Graham Lloyd
23   Posted 24/04/2008 at 14:49:06

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Regarding the the speculation over new players for next season.IMO the ideal players that we require are Gareth Barry (to replace Carsley) and a flair player David Bentley (to replace McFadden)these two are tried and trusted in the premiership which Moyes is looking for.But Who are we to speculate, Moyes will probably find them elsewhere.Keep the Faith.
Michael Kenrick
24   Posted 24/04/2008 at 15:09:28

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No censorship, Brian. It cam in with IP "unknown" and automatically gets blocked. It has now been released, so cool yer jets.
Joe McMahon
25   Posted 24/04/2008 at 15:12:39

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Graham Lloyd - as much as I would love to see Barry & Bentley, I think realsim is needed. NO WAY would we be able to afford them or their wages. The likes of both Red Yank teams, Chelsea, Spurs, Newcastle and even City can & will out do us as they have big investment - we don’t. That’s why Carsley, Neville & Hibbert appears in our starting 11 and not theirs. We have to be realsitic.
Keith Glazzard
26   Posted 24/04/2008 at 15:27:11

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No future is guaranteed, of course, but I recall BK saying recently that all our players would be here next year. And that now includes Pienaar, but not, of course Manny. So Steven, Tim, Leon and Mikel - not a bad start to a midfield. If, heaven forbid, we should lose Arteta, at least it would have to be for good money.

So, Carsley, and Neville? Almost everyone I read on thie site wants a step up in power and- mainly - class in this role. I do believe that Moyes is trying to sove this problem, but I’m afraid we’re going to have to wait and see.
Ben Jones
27   Posted 24/04/2008 at 17:17:47

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I do agree with this two defensive midfield option thing, as Utd do it with Carrick and Scholes, Liverpool with Mascherano and Xabi Alonso, and Arsenal with Flamini and Fabregas, even though players like Scholes and Fabregas often push up. Carsley and Manny would be good for these positions, in my opinion. I also would like Everton to buy a left winger. I know people disagree but I’d like to see Duff there. What Moyes can do is galvanise players, and a galvanised Duff at the left hand side, back to his old Blackburn and early Chelsea days, would be awesome for us. Anyone agree?
Connor Rohrer
28   Posted 24/04/2008 at 17:29:43

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Ben Jones, the problem with Fernandes and Carsley is they are completely different styles who occupy different areas of the pitch.

Carsley is a british style defensive midfielder who basically runs around the pitch breaking up play. His style doesn’t really need any positional sense and he is free to roam and chase after anyone he wants.

Fernandes is a deep lying play maker with good positioning. He’s not going to dive into tackles and break up play but he does player in deeper position more or less infront of the back four. He drops deep and supports the defenders and when he has the ball brings people into play with his passing.

The likes of Carrick and Scholes at Utd and Alonso and Masherano at Liverpool occupy similar places on the pitch and let others attack around them. They work with each other so to speak and it benefits the team.

The problem we have is that in most of the games Fernandes and Carsley have played together Carsley is usually the furtherest forward whereas Fernandes plays deeper. Its no ones fault there just different players. We usually look better with Osman in there because he’s more attacking and have the energy to support the front man.

If it was up to me next season we’d should be looking at a continental 4-2-3-1 formation. four defenders, 2 deep lying midfielders, three creative midfielders and a striker. Alot of teams are using at and it probably suits are play.
Declan McCarthy
29   Posted 24/04/2008 at 17:47:59

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I kind of feel Moyes is heading towards the continental system that you're thinking of Connor, the only time I can think of last season we looked ok with 4-4-2 was when we had Fernandes fit and Vaughan, Fernandes links well with Arteta, I would like to believe he will be here next season as Kenright himself said some time ago that he is an important part of the Everton family, I?m sure Moyes knows enough about him at this stage to have made his mind up, I don?t see him in the Carsley role but he can certainly pass the ball, and he links the defence and forward positions well, I belive that he will be a great midfielder all he needs is a home and I hope it?s us he signs for, I?d be gutted if he went elsewhere, Dudu I think would be ideal with him as Carsley?s replacement, I hope Artetea stays as well.
John Martin
30   Posted 24/04/2008 at 18:15:56

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Why are people saying we have £10 million or others are saying we have £20 million to spend? Nobody knows what we have to spend; it's pointless speculating on what we will spend as it's just guesswork and not fact. We all like to say who we should sign but in the end what we want or believe we need means nothing unless it's what Moyes wants.
Connor Rohrer
31   Posted 24/04/2008 at 18:20:34

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It really depends on the price Declan. Moyes obviously rates Fernandes or he wouldn’t have brought him back twice. There was an option to buy in the loan deal so he obviously wants to make him a permanant fixture hear.

But the price is key. If its a ridiculous price like 12-14 milllion for example then the only chance of Manuel being hear is on loan. If its for around 8 million and we get a decent budget then Fernandes will probably be signed. 8 million would be a snip for someone of his ability and potential in my opinion. If Andy Johnson is worth 8.6 mllion and Leighton Baines is worth 6 million then I have no doubts Fernandes is worth 8 million.
Declan McCarthy
32   Posted 24/04/2008 at 19:26:58

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Yes indeed Connor, like so many things in life, I love BMW?s but I drive an Astra. Anyway, let?s hope he stays, I think Carsley mentioned £8 million before, sounds good to me.
Davey Roksin
33   Posted 24/04/2008 at 18:57:37

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I agree with Connor’s points about 1) Manny being a deep-lying playmaker, not a combative tackler whose main objective is to break up the opposition’s attack; and 2) the fact that DM should seriously consider a 4-2-3-1 formation, which actually isn’t far from what we really play now anyway. I think we should pick up Manny if the price is right - as his fitness has improved, so has his overall game. We still need a real central midfielder (Kallstrom has been my ideal pick-up for two years now), a competent right back with pace and the ability to get forward, and a pacey winger to step in when either Arteta or Pienaar pick up a knock. Maybe Gosling is the answer at right back, but the other two positions are equally imperative in my book.

My ideal starting lineup, next year would be:

Howard (Turner)




Yakubu (Vaughan, Johnson, Anichebe)

Bench: New winger, Rodwell, Osman, Jagielka (he can play GK too!), Neville

I don’t think we’ll have the money to pick up more than one big name player, so my choice would be Kallstrom over Arshavin, plus tying up Manny on the cheap, and bringing in some young talent from the reserves or the Championship.

Lescott gets the armband next year. He is vocal and leads by example.

Huge three weeks coming up - I think we’ll pull it out in the end, but I’ll be on blood pressure meds until it’s all over!
Tom Campbell
34   Posted 24/04/2008 at 21:01:49

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What about Jermaine Pennant as the pacey winger? ? He would cost about £2 or 3 million.
Ian McDowell
35   Posted 25/04/2008 at 07:34:25

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I think that Moyes will probably be looking to sign a strong, powerful quick defensive midfield player who can get up and down the pitch. From what I hear about Michael Bradley of Heerenveen, he seems to be having an impressive season so if we can sign him and Fernandes, who are both 21, then they could be the centre-midfield partnership for the next few years with Arteta and Pienaar out wide and Cahill behind the Yak... although I would still love us to sign Arsharvin.
Connor Rohrer
36   Posted 25/04/2008 at 07:49:04

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Ian McDowell, I think if we sign Bradley he’ll be one for the future. He’s defiantly a promising talent but UI couldn’t see him coming to the Premier League and demanding a place in the team. He’ll more than likely come, nurture his talent and come in every once and while and fill a role.

The good thing about Bradley is he is versatile in the sense that he is used to playing different positions and different systems. He plays as a defensive midfielder for USA whereas for Heerenveen he plays in the "Cahill role" behind the front man. I think he sees himself as a box to box midfielder.

Will he be a success in England? I don’t know but he has the tools to make it hear. He’s certainly tenacious and hardoworking which could help and playing in Holland will obviously improve his techniuque and natural ability.

He’s different to Fernandes. Yes there of a similar age but Fernandes is alot more experienced and has played at alot higher level domestically and on a European stage. I could see someone like Fernandes coming hear and getting himself into the starting eleven whereas I couldn’t see that with Bradley.

I’m all for signing him though if the price is right. A promising player and at 4 million would be a good deal.

I think Arshavin would show a signal of intent go be honest. Quality player with a growing reputation. He also can fill three roles. Wide right, wide left and as a second striker. Could be a useful player for us.
Dan Pedersen
37   Posted 25/04/2008 at 11:59:42

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Stephane Mbia, Joe Letley and Andrei Arshavin!

Tony Hawkins
38   Posted 25/04/2008 at 12:33:00

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Thinking back to Moyes? comments about buying English players and looking at the team line-ups mentioned, it becomes more apparent, I think, why Moyes wants to bring them in.

Of the Top players we have who command a starting 11 place only Lescott is 99% guaranteed a slot meaning the Everton team is likely to have only 1 English play on the pitch, particularly next season if we buy new midfielders.
Iain Latchford
39   Posted 25/04/2008 at 13:36:44

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Kevin Nolan?
Steve Ashton
40   Posted 25/04/2008 at 13:39:28

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I notice that Ramos at Spurs has said that there only 6 players on his definate retained list for next season.

Lennon, Huddlestone and Jenas don?t appear on that list. Jenas is probably too like TC but Lennon would fit in and if Huddlestone can keep the excess weight off he would certainly fill a hole in mid-field!!!!

Don?t think we should lose anyone AVDM excepted. Need to build depth into the squad. But all this is academic if we don?t qualify for Europe No European football and the quality of player willing to join dips. So let?s concentrate on beating the Villa before we start making our wish lists.
Matt Garen
41   Posted 25/04/2008 at 13:52:17

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Without getting to FM, we wouldn't go far wrong in spending a few quid of our budget on the two lads from Cardiff we have been linked with. Mark my words, Aaron Ramsay is going to be a special player.
Davey Roksin
42   Posted 25/04/2008 at 19:53:21

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Huddlestone, Kallstrom, Ledley, Fernandes - not that they?re all the same type of player, but I?d take any two of them to strengthen us in the middle of the park. Especially the first two! A midfield of:

Huddlestone Kallstrom
Arteta Cahill Pienaar

would be fearsome! If we have the money and intent to push on, I?d pass on Manny in favor of those two.

Also, again, we need a new right back. Hibbert is bush league and Neville should not be a starter. Surely there?s some young cheap talent out there to fill that role.

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